… Sinners of whom I am chief…. Now unto the King, eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
~ 1 Tim 1:15,17
Only those who have struck the deepest note of penitence can reach the highest note of praise.
~A. J. Gordon
God’s Purpose in Satan’s Hindrance
“Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us”
~ 1 Thes. 2:18
God has a plan for each of our lives, a plan that is for our good and His glory. We should not forget, however, that Satan has a plan for the believer’s life as well. His designs are for destroying our lives and testimony for Christ through sin, false beliefs, and poor decisions. Paul’s mention of “the wiles of the devil” in Ephesians 6:11 teaches us that Satan has strategies, methods, and schemes to make us fall or run away in the spiritual battle. Satan can’t take away your salvation (Col. 3:3), but he can destroy your testimony. Like a thief, he can also rob you of your joy in Christ and your assurance of salvation.
After establishing the church at Thessalonica, Paul had tried “once and again” to reconnect and visit them, but it had not worked out. The reason, Paul wrote, was that “Satan hindered us.” The Greek word for “hindered” is used of making a road impassable. In the context of athletics, it meant cutting someone off during a race. In a military context, it referred to cutting a trench in front of an advancing army to prevent the enemy’s progress. Satan does the same thing in our Christian lives: he blocks the path, cuts us off in mid-stride to trip us up, or impedes our spiritual progress.
We do not know specifically what Satan did to keep Paul from going back to Thessalonica, but we do know that Paul attributed the obstruction to Satan himself. However, we see now how even Satan’s hindrance was part of God’s providence for Paul’s life. God allowed and used Satan’s opposition and brought good out of this roadblock which Paul perceived as bad. As He did with the Cross, God accomplished His own purposes, using the devil to do so.
The consequence of Paul’s inability to go to Thessalonica was the writing of a letter, a letter that became part of our Bible. This letter, in turn, has resulted in glory to God and, for the past 2000 years, untold multitudes have benefited from Paul’s First Epistle to the Thessalonians and have been blessed by its divine truths — our blessed hope of the Rapture (4:13-18), to name just one. It was because Paul faced a satanic roadblock in his life that we have 1 Thessalonians. We do well to remember this anytime we face a blocked road or barrier in life that we perceive as bad, because God can work to bring something good out of it for His glory and our blessing.
~ Pastor Kevin Sadler
Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Father, let our faithful mind
Rest, on Thee alone inclined;
Every anxious thought repress,
Keep our souls in perfect peace.
~ C. WESLEY
Retirement from anxieties of every kind; entering into no disputes; avoiding all frivolous talk; and simplifying everything we engage in, whether in a way of doing or suffering; denying the, imagination its false activities, and the intellect its false searchings after what it cannot obtain,—these seem to be some of the steps that lead to obedience to the holy precept in our text.
~ JAMES P. GREAVES
Retire inwardly; wait to feel somewhat of God’s Spirit, discovering and drawing away from that which is contrary to His holy nature, and leading into that which is acceptable to Him. As the mind is joined to this, some true light and life is received.
~ I. PENINGTON
Act up faithfully to your convictions; and when you have been unfaithful, bear with yourself, and resume always with calm simplicity your little task. Suppress, as much as you possibly can, all recurrence to yourself, and you will suppress much vanity. Accustom yourself to much calmness and an indifference to events.
~ MADAME GUYON
Faith Grows Amid Storms
He hath acquainted himself with my beaten path. When he hath searched me out, I shall come out shining ~ Job 23:10
Faith grows amid storms” ~ just four words, but oh, how full of import to the soul who has been in the storms!
Faith is that God-given faculty which, when exercised, brings the unseen into plain view, and by which the impossible things are made possible. It deals with supernaturals.
But it “grows amid storms”; that is, where there are disturbances in the spiritual atmosphere. Storms are caused by the conflicts of elements; and the storms of the spiritual world are conflicts with hostile elements.
In such an atmosphere faith finds its most productive soil; in such an element it comes more quickly to full fruition.
The staunchest tree is not found in the shelter of the forest, but out in the open where the winds from every quarter beat upon it, and bend and twist it until it becomes a giant in stature this is the tree which the mechanic wants his tools made of, and the wagon-maker seeks.
So in the spiritual world, when you see a giant, remember the road you must travel to come up to his side is not along the sunny lane where wild flowers ever bloom; but a steep, rocky, narrow pathway where the blasts of hell will almost blow you off your feet; where the sharp rocks cut the flesh, where the projecting thorns scratch the brow, and the venomous beasts hiss on every side.
It is a pathway of sorrow and joy, of suffering and healing balm, of tears and smiles, of trials and victories, of conflicts and triumphs, of hardships and perils and buffetings, of persecutions and misunderstandings, of troubles and distress; through all of which we are made more than conquerors through Him who loves us.
“Amid storms.” Right in the midst where it is fiercest. You may shrink back from the ordeal of a fierce storm of trial…but go in! God is there to meet you in the center of all your trials, and to whisper His secrets which will make you come forth with a shining face and an indomitable faith that all the demons of hell shall never afterwards cause to waver.
~ E. A. Kilbourne
Being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
This lingering for forty days is the crowning proof of Christ’s tender regard for His little flock. He who had laid down His life for them is loath to leave them. Though they had forsaken Him, and doubted Him, they had not wearied, much less had they worn out, His love. He stays to look again, and yet again, and yet again, upon them, as if turning back and lingering to bless them. It is all of a piece with His life of love. Everywhere He meets them without a touch of upbraiding, without recalling a single memory of all His bitter suffering, revealing Himself to the disciples with a tenderness and blessedness indescribably beautiful.
How can He go till He has healed the Magdalene’s broken heart? He must linger till poor Peter can venture near to have his forgiveness assured. He must stay to strengthen Thomas’ faith. He must tarry with them till He has made them feel that He is just the same friendly, brotherly Jesus that He has ever been, caring for them in their work, watching them with a yearning pity, stooping to kindle a fire for their warmth, and to cook the fish for their meal, and then to bid them come and dine.
~ Mark Guy Pearse